Hilaire blames Chastanet for low CIP Ranking
Parliamentary Representative for Castries South, Ernest Hilaire blames Prime Minister Allen Chastanet’s administration for St Lucia’s low citizenship-by-investment program (CIP) ranking.
Last week, Henley & Partners’ Global Residence and Citizenship Programs 2017–2018 report ranked St Lucia seventh of eight countries that offer such programs, ahead of Dominica only.
Hilaire spoke with MBC saying, “We warned the prime minister, once there’s a change in the program and you make St Lucia cheap, easy to get, anybody who finds $150,000 can become a citizen of St Lucia, our reputation will sink.”
Hilaire said that Chastanet responded by saying that naysayers did not know what they were talking about and that St Lucia had to offer a cheaper CIP having entered the market late.
Hilaire noted that Caribbean competitors – Antigua, St Kitts & Nevis and Dominica - have reacted by lowering their prices and wondered if Chastanet will say that St Lucia had to go even lower.
Earlier this year government made changes to St Lucia's CIP with the intention of making it more competitive. The requirement for an applicant to provide a sworn affidavit to declare financial resources of at least US$3,000,000.00 was removed. The limit of the number of applications which could be granted by the Board, previously set at a maximum of 500 applications was also removed.The qualifying contribution for a single applicant was reduced from US$200,000 to US$100,000; for an applicant with a spouse the amount was reduced from US$235,000 to US$165,000 and for an applicant with a spouse and two dependents the reduction was from US$250,000 to US$190,000.
Hilaire said that the change has damaged St Lucia’s reputation.
The report awarded St Lucia a 4 out of a possible 10 score on the reputation criterion, tied with Grenada and Antigua and Barbuda. This placed it ahead of Dominica and St Kitts, both of which received a 3.
Although St Lucia was ranked seventh, Henley & Partners issued a release stating:
“Saint Lucia’s citizenship-by-investment program has secured the top spot in terms of Investment Requirements, Residence Requirements and Physical Visit Requirements in the Global Residence and Citizenship Programs 2017–2018 report.”
“The Saint Lucia Citizenship-by-Investment Program is the newest of all the current programs around the world, having only been launched in January 2016. As a result, the program is still in its infancy and is continually being developed and improved. Saint Lucia attracts foreign business and investment, especially in the banking and tourism sector. The nation’s manufacturing sector is also the most diverse in the eastern Caribbean area. Successful applicants of its citizenship-by-investment program benefit from visa-free travel to 127 countries worldwide, including Europe’s Schengen area.”